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Use of 2 front wheeled motorcycles on the TdeF

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Greensands13/09/2020 20:25:53
344 forum posts
66 photos

Hi All - As a keen follower of the Tour de France I notice that the accompanying photographers filming the race are quite often to be seen being conveyed on motorcycles with a pair of front wheels. At first I assumed that this was to give maximum stability but other shots show that this is not general practice as conventional motorcycles can also be seen in the role. Perhaps some of our two wheel enthusiasts in the forum can elucidate.

JasonB13/09/2020 20:30:10
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

Yamaha are the official motorcycle supplier so they provide them for certain rolls, normal bikes will be press, neutral service etc

Speedy Builder513/09/2020 20:47:19
2613 forum posts
212 photos

Must be nice being the competitors, gasping for every bit of oxygen with bikes and cars pumping out exhaust gasses just feet in front of them - crazy.

Pete Rimmer13/09/2020 20:50:57
1233 forum posts
65 photos

I've no idea about the TDF but those 2-front-wheel bikes are popular in the UK because our licensing laws allows for(some of) them to be ridden on a car license whilst remaining in the motorcycle taxation class, so they can (in London, anyway) be ridden in most bus lanes, are exempt from congestion charge and use motorcycle parking bays most of which are free.

It's all down to how far apart the wheels are. Some manufacturers do a UK-specific model to exploit the 'loophole'.

JasonB13/09/2020 20:54:58
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

I think the official Skoda cars are all electric this year so they are getting there.

Bit about the bikes here

colin wilkinson13/09/2020 22:08:17
71 forum posts

Yamaha Niken, 3 cyl 850cc not cheap though

Mike Poole13/09/2020 22:31:38
3339 forum posts
73 photos

Regardless of how it performs it is a plug ugly beast.


Breva13/09/2020 23:38:13
89 forum posts
7 photos

You're right there Mike!

What are the supposed advantages, other than being just different, or that they can stand up on their own?

I think I'll stick with my Guzzi!


Brian Sweeting13/09/2020 23:56:02
453 forum posts
1 photos

Mind you Piaggio started it with their MP3 scooter.

Ady114/09/2020 06:38:22
5090 forum posts
736 photos

Used to watch one going about where I live and maintaining the front wheel geometrics looked pretty complicated for a bike

On our pothole ridden third world road system I got the impression that it wouldn't be long before wonky tyre wear became an issue, as with various cars

edit: Those Yamahas do look a lot more substantial though, the one I used to see was a more scooter type design


Edited By Ady1 on 14/09/2020 07:00:27

JasonB14/09/2020 07:07:21
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

If you read my link they were found to be more stable in testing by ASO, handy when creeping up an alpine road with a camera man moving about all over the place on the back.

Gerard O'Toole14/09/2020 07:33:29
138 forum posts
10 photos

Thanks for the link Jason, I think it actually says they "....provide a lot of stability.", not necessarily more than a normal motorcycle.

I noticed a good few three wheelers in France and Italy in a road trip in 2019 so they are becoming more popular though still a minority of all motorcycles.

Graham Stoppani14/09/2020 07:37:00
124 forum posts
26 photos
Posted by Speedy Builder5 on 13/09/2020 20:47:19:

Must be nice being the competitors, gasping for every bit of oxygen with bikes and cars pumping out exhaust gasses just feet in front of them - crazy.

BMW have been providing electric scooters for the past couple of years for filming the Great North Run and other races in the UK.

JasonB14/09/2020 07:37:57
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

I read this bit too, additional is more in my book.wink 2

  • The NIKEN has been chosen to offer the motorbike riders additional stability.
Mike Poole14/09/2020 11:59:31
3339 forum posts
73 photos

Piaggio and Gilera came out with three wheel bikes quite a while ago but I have never had the thought go through my head that I want one of those.


old mart14/09/2020 13:25:03
3775 forum posts
233 photos

Piaggio marketed this type years before anybody else, the bike cranks over like a normal bike with a clever linkage keeping the front wheels parallel, but the inside one goes up, while the outside one goes down. The concept is to attract people who might be wary of holding up a normal two wheeler.

Michael Gilligan14/09/2020 19:05:23
20182 forum posts
1053 photos

... and Ariel, of course, used the wrong wheel layout angel



clogs14/09/2020 20:52:03
626 forum posts
12 photos

as always, for the brit manufactures...whats the cheapest they can get away with......

seems the modern 3 wheelers are used a lot on mainland europe....

John Olsen14/09/2020 22:41:17
1250 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles

The usual rule of thumb is that a three wheeler of any sort will combine all of the worst features of both cars and motorcycles, without including any of the good features. The tricycle layouts, both forward and reversed for instance ensure that if there is a pothole, at least one of your wheels will hit it.


John MC15/09/2020 07:53:42
376 forum posts
44 photos

Having ridden a Yamaha Niken I think this additional stability thing is just not noticeable while riding "normally". The bike rode well, but most do these days. I think the additional stability would help out in difficult conditions, slippery roads for instance, or when a rider exceeds their ability.

Very comfortable though and plenty of room for a pillion. These points, I think, would make it appeal to the riders providing support for Le Tour. Yamaha are making the most of an opportunity here.

I found it amusing (don't know why) that the Niken will not stand up without a conventional stand.


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